Senator Murray Calls for Quick Confirmation of Kurt DelBene for Top VA Technology Post to Help Fix Problems for Veterans

***WATCH SENATOR MURRAY’S FULL REMARKS HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced Kurt DelBene during a Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on his nomination to serve as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Information and Technology and Chief Information Officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Mr. DelBene previously served as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services helping to fix HealthCare.Gov and as an Executive Vice President at Microsoft.  

“Everyone on this committee understands the seriousness of the obligation our government has to our veterans that when the people who serve this country come home, we take care of them the absolute best we can. Part of living up to our commitment is building the kind of technological infrastructure that has been sorely missing at the VA. It is well past time we move VA into the 21st century. Mr. DelBene is uniquely qualified to lead this effort,” Senator Murray said.

“Here on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Republicans and Democrats have always been able to find common ground in order to make sure this government is living up to its promise to our veterans because at the end of the day, I believe everyone on this committee is firmly committed to getting the job done for the women and men who served our country. So let’s confirm someone who can get the job done,” Senator Murray continued. “I urge this committee to waste no time in advancing this nomination so Mr. DelBene can be confirmed on the Senate floor and get to work for our veterans as soon as possible.”

Senator Murray’s full remarks, as prepared for delivery, are below:

“Thank you, Chairman Tester and Ranking Member Moran for holding today’s hearing.

“It is a real pleasure to come before you today to introduce Kurt DelBene as this Committee considers his nomination to serve as Assistant Secretary for the Office of Information and Technology and Chief Information Officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Everyone on this committee understands the seriousness of the obligation our government has to our veterans that when the people who serve this country come home, we take care of them the absolute best we can. 

“Part of living up to our commitment is building the kind of technological infrastructure that has been sorely missing at the VA.

“It is well past time we move VA into the 21st century. Mr. DelBene is uniquely qualified to lead this effort.

“Top of mind for me, has been the really unacceptable system failures since the rollout of the new Electronic Health Records system being piloted at the Spokane V-A-M-C in my home of Washington state. 

“There is absolutely no reason in 2021 the United States of America should not be able to deploy a state-of-the-art electronic health records system.

“And when it comes to the health of our veterans, VA needs to be doing everything it can to get this right. 

“I am here today because I strongly believe Mr. DelBene is the right person for this job.

“For me, it comes down to a couple of key determinations.

“Mr. DelBene is qualified.

“His work as a senior executive at Microsoft means he will be able to hit the ground running and lead on upgrading VA’s systems.

“Managing major projects and large organizations requires experience—and Mr. DelBene has a proven track record here.

“At Microsoft, he served on the Defense Innovation Board to help the Department of Defense come up with solutions to some of the toughest technological problems facing our military.

“And—I think this is very important—Mr. DelBene stepped up and left the private sector to help fix healthcare.gov, wading in to try and fix the Affordable Care Act website was certainly not glamorous work.

“If anything, Mr. DelBene was signing up for a tough, high stakes job in a politically charged environment.

“But he kept his head down, did the work, and delivered because millions of families were counting on it.

“This is exactly what we need to see at VA.

“Mr. DelBene comes from my home state of Washington and he is someone who believes in serving others—his record shows it, and he has grown up all his life around family who live those same values.

“Many of us know the character of his wife—our colleague in the House—Congresswoman Suzan DelBene.

“And I believe it really matters that we appoint someone qualified who is ready to do this job for the right reasons.

“Because this work will be hard and the stakes will be high.

“But I have spoken with Mr. DelBene and he is up to the task.

“I believe in his vision and passion to bring VA into the 21st century.

“And here on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Republicans and Democrats have always been able to find common ground in order to make sure this government is living up to its promise to our veterans because at the end of the day, I believe everyone on this committee is firmly committed to getting the job done for the women and men who served our country.

“So let’s confirm someone who can get the job done.

“I urge this committee to waste no time in advancing this nomination so Mr. DelBene can be confirmed on the Senate floor and get to work for our veterans as soon as possible.”